Gareth Jones is a metal craftsman and sculptor who also works as a metalwork technician at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, teaching metalwork skills and enabling students to manifest their artistic visions in metal. For his work, he mainly works with welding and soldering and uses these processes to produce sculpture and craftwork with steel and copper. Though he has worked with other materials in the past, he says he has always been drawn to metal. “It can be so varied - it can be thin and spindly yet still very strong and despite metal’s strength it can become malleable and be pushed into soft looking, almost skin-like organic forms.” He explained how his metalwork teacher influenced him in taking up this craft due to his strict teaching methods which meant he usually got good results when working with metal at school. He also has been inspired a lot by ‘Iron beach’ in North Wales where he grew up. The beach was below an old scrapyard so leftover slag (waste metal) was dumped onto the beach which solidified on the rocks leaving molten ‘metal lava’ covering parts of the beach along with chunks of cogs, chain and other metal that hadn’t fully melted. This post-apocalyptic, industrial ‘steampunk-like’ aesthetic has heavily inspired Gareth’s artistic work. He is also inspired by nature and the human form, with one of his current works in progress being a bust made from spot-welded offcuts of welding rods which otherwise would have been thrown away. He has always used reclaimed and scrap metal whenever possible, initially due to cost but also due to a dislike of waste and an urge to reuse it, also because of recognisable components giving added character and interest to a piece. He also enjoys working with copper and how it changes colour, as demonstrated in the photographs below. He said that he’d felt pressure in the past to compromise his ideas to make his work more sellable and that metalwork, like many other making processes, takes a lot of time and the prices from sales usually don’t reflect the many hours spent making the work. He also feels that it can be harder for older artists as most opportunities for open calls and exhibitions are aimed at younger/new artists. Furthermore, as Gareth is a full-time technician, this leaves little time for him to produce his own work. Gareth now uses Instagram where he posts his past and recent work and also takes commissions.
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